Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

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  • Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

    Is an Original screenplay worth more to ones writing career than an Adapted screenplay? Does one have more value over the other?
    Last edited by iDV8; 02-28-2011, 01:37 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

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    Last edited by AJ_FIN; 06-08-2020, 12:47 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

      Originally posted by iDV8 View Post
      Is an Original screenplay worth more to ones writing career than an Adapted screenplay? Does one have more value over the other?
      A great script is a great script.

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      • #4
        Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

        Here's a question. Let's say you're trying to get an assignment doing an adaptation. Does the fact that you've only written original ideas before play a part in whether you get hired? By that I mean, do the producers usually consider whether you've ever done an adaptation as an important part of the decision?
        Chicks Who Script podcast

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        • #5
          Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

          I haven't found that to be the case- they're generally more interested in your work being a good match in genre and tone.

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          • #6
            Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

            Originally posted by emily blake View Post
            Here's a question. Let's say you're trying to get an assignment doing an adaptation. Does the fact that you've only written original ideas before play a part in whether you get hired? By that I mean, do the producers usually consider whether you've ever done an adaptation as an important part of the decision?
            I'm heard the opposite - that it's hard to hire someone unless you've seen something original that they wrote, because otherwise you never know how much was them and how much was the underlying material.

            But I heard this back in film school, and can't remember the exact source, so I don't want to wager on what percentage of producers/studio execs actually care about such things.

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            • #7
              Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

              Thanks guys. Good to know.
              Chicks Who Script podcast

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              • #8
                Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

                Originally posted by emily blake View Post
                Here's a question. Let's say you're trying to get an assignment doing an adaptation. Does the fact that you've only written original ideas before play a part in whether you get hired? By that I mean, do the producers usually consider whether you've ever done an adaptation as an important part of the decision?
                In my experience, the best of all possible writers "on paper" is the one who's done both a successful original work, and a successful adaptations. Each has pros and cons (there's no question of what work was yours and what was underlying material in an original; but adapting something requires the ability to synthesize underlying material and condense/expand/adjust it as necessary to make the best screen story).

                Both are valuable skills to have, and having a writing sample of each (just like having a spec TV show and an original pilot for television) is ideal... but for the record I've never seen a writer with a great original script not get a job on an adaptation (or vice versa). This is strictly in a, "Gee, wouldn't it be nice" way, not in a "this is a rule and you must have both or you'll never get the job" kind of way.

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                • #9
                  Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

                  In my case I have a choice. I wrote a screenplay about a guy and he is still writing his book. I have had a couple of hours of video interviews, personal and telephone conversations and have read his 80 journal pages so it's definitely not an adaptation because there wasn't a book when I wrote the screenplay. The "guy" would love it to say "adapted from the book" but I think I'd rather be credited as the writer of an original screenplay.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

                    Originally posted by iDV8 View Post
                    In my case I have a choice. I wrote a screenplay about a guy and he is still writing his book. I have had a couple of hours of video interviews, personal and telephone conversations and have read his 80 journal pages so it's definitely not an adaptation because there wasn't a book when I wrote the screenplay. The "guy" would love it to say "adapted from the book" but I think I'd rather be credited as the writer of an original screenplay.
                    This sounds almost exactly like the situation with The Social Network. Sorkin was working on the screenplay at the same time that Ben Mezrich was working on the book. They shared notes, but each pretty much did their own thing.

                    Still, The Social Network is considered an adaptation.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Original vs. Adapted Screenplay

                      Originally posted by iDV8 View Post
                      In my case I have a choice. I wrote a screenplay about a guy and he is still writing his book. I have had a couple of hours of video interviews, personal and telephone conversations and have read his 80 journal pages so it's definitely not an adaptation because there wasn't a book when I wrote the screenplay. The "guy" would love it to say "adapted from the book" but I think I'd rather be credited as the writer of an original screenplay.
                      wouldn't you rather get the movie made? dood, whatever works.

                      sometimes adaptations are more marketable b/c they already have an audience who's read the story. i know yours is not that case but... if they came out simultaneously then you will definitely fare better in ticket sales.

                      however, true stories can also be more marketable than fiction. you have a really intriguing story. good luck with that.

                      Jaws is another example of near simultaneous novel & film release.

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